Illustration: Karl Marx for nature
Reading Food from the surrounding area is in vogue. But what the consumer of labels, labels and quality marks is served, is confusing. For more insight, the "regional window" should now provide. Our partner magazine "nature" has therefore put seals and regional windows through their paces.

Business with domestic products is booming: Nine out of ten consumers prefer to buy regional food. But what really comes from the surrounding area - and which manufacturer would like to pretend only with imaginative seals as if? Andrea Schauff, Food Expert at the Hesse Consumer Center explains: "There is no single legal regulation for what can be called 'regional' and may advertise 'Heimat'. That's why suppliers cheerfully define what they mean by that. "" Local fruits "come from all over Europe. And orange juice from Brazilian oranges is sold under the brand "Our North".

Hope for more insight

Since January 2014, the new regional window should provide more transparency. Such a label has long been demanded - by the regional movement, consumer associations and, most recently, the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture Ministers. Because even the global corporation Coca Cola describes itself as a "regional company" and has created the slogan "We from here". The regional window was developed on behalf of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. The licenses are awarded by the especially founded Verein Regionalfenster eV, in which, among others, Bioland, Demeter, Edeka, Lidl, Rewe and tegut are members. The most important information in the regional window is the origin of the food. It must be specified where the product was processed and which neutral testing institute is responsible for the inspection. "The regional window is a pure declaration of origin, " explains in the official German Madeleine Altenhein, CEO of Regionalfenster eV "We do not want to replace existing characters, so it makes no quality statements."

In plain language this means that the consumer does not learn whether the product was produced in a fair, sustainable, ecological, genetic or animal-friendly way. Information about this is even expressly forbidden. The definition of "region" is broad: "smaller than the Federal Republic of Germany" is enough. Apples from Baden-Württemberg can also be sold regionally in northern Germany. For all weaknesses: For the consumer centers, the regional window is "a step in the right direction, " says Hartmut König, head of the Nutrition Department of the Consumer Hesse.

Window without transparency

However, Heiner Sindel, co-founder and chairman of the Federal Association of the Regional Movement, criticizes. Sindel is a nationwide well-known lobbyist for the regions and is fighting against the global players who cart food all over Europe. "The cheap stores break grown-up structures, " says the giant with his graying beard. But politics has given it a regional seal, which primarily benefits the discounters, instead of supporting the small farmers and craftsmen, as Sindel complains. "With the regional window, global players now have an instrument at their fingertips that allows them to fool the consumer into regionalism." Display

Sindel therefore relies more on regional networks such as "Our Country". The Bavarian network founded in 1994 is now represented in eleven counties in the Free State as well as the cities of Munich and Augsburg. Via a limited liability company with 75 workplaces, the members market almost 100 products - half of them from organic farming. "Our country" is for Sindel the ideal of a marketing initiative. Even dog and cat food is produced. The entire value chain remains in the region, no part of the slaughter animals is wasted. "Without regional economic cycles, people are broken, " says Sindel. "We lose jobs. The young people move to the city. The rural area is abandoned. "

The nature test of the regional seal can be downloaded here.

© nature - Sigrid Krügel
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